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Daliso Chaponda brings the house down at ‘Friends of Mulanje Orphans’ fundraiser

The Britain’s Got Talent Finalist had the crowd in hysterics as he recounted memories from his time in Malawi

Britain’s Got Talent legend, Daliso Chaponda, produced two incredible sets to raise money for ‘Friends of Mulanje Orphans’.

The comedy icon left everyone at Hutton Village Hall in high spirits, as he helped the Preston-based charity accumulate a whopping £2000 for disadvantaged Malawian children.

Back in 2000, touched by the harrowing stories that she’d heard from her friends and relatives in the Mulanje region, Mary Woodworth and her husband Keith decided to visit the area, where they witnessed first-hand the desperate circumstances faced by the locals.

Although coming to terms with the harsh reality of life in the poverty-stricken area was difficult, it sparked a positive reaction, as the pair of kind-hearted individuals made the call to start what is now referred to as, ‘FOMO’.

23 years on, the charity has gone from strength to strength.

Daliso Chaponda

Trustee, Emma Whitlock, explained: “We run daycare centres for children to come and visit every day for a hot meal, sometimes the only meal they’ll have. We provide health care through our clinic and essentials like clothes, toiletries and school equipment. We actually run a secondary school over in Malawi.”

In a testament to her drive and creativity, Mary is always trying to find new ways to raise money to help others. On this occasion, she reached out to Daliso’s dad, who works in the Malawian government, and asked if his talented son would be willing to do a gig. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Fuelled by a chicken and potato meal that Mary cooked for him, the 43-year-old comic took to the stage and blew everyone away. But while he loves to make people laugh, his passions expand far beyond just comedy.

Speaking exclusively to Rock FM, he said: “My father’s family is from Mulanje in Malawi. I do charity gigs when I can, but this one I had to do as it’s been a very tough year for Malawian orphans because there were a bunch of floods a few weeks ago. Usually, every year the charity sends a large container of supplies, clothes, toys and so on. But this year, they’re trying to raise enough money to send two containers. So I was like, ‘Yes, definitely, I’ll do it.”

“When I was born, my parents were refugees, so I grew up all over the place, in 14 different countries. I was only in Malawi from when I was 11 years old for around two years. But it was always my home. I always had a connection to it, even though my radio show is called ‘Citizen of Nowhere’ because I am a bit of this and a bit of that. Mulanje is very important to my parents, so that’s my connection to it.”

The seasoned performer continued: “I think that comedy is very good for fundraising because you don’t need to drag people to come to the show. It was a small venue, but it was totally packed, and everyone was fully engaged. It was wonderful.

“Everything was perfect. Donate to Friends of Mulanje Orphans. It’s a tremendous cause, and it’s a pleasure to be involved with them.”

And it goes without saying that Emma was delighted to welcome him to the stage.

She beamed: “It was absolutely wonderful, we’re thrilled that he came. He’s an international name in the comedy world; we’re so lucky.”

In addition, Mary’s son, Chris Woodworth, who works as a voice actor, had the pleasure of warming up for Daliso, giving the spectators an extra sprinkling of magic on top of what was already an epic evening. Utilising his incredible skills, he wowed everyone with his impressions ranging from Crush the Turtle from Finding Nemo to Elmo from Sesame Street.

Furthermore, the organisers put on an auction, which went down a storm, with the crowd bidding on an array of items from a Spiderman bicycle to a signed Morgan Schneiderlin, Manchester United, shirt.

Ultimately, everyone was there to have a laugh while simultaneously offering support to those who need it the most.

Emma asserted: “Tonight’s fundraiser was all about raising money for a container that we’re sending to Malawi. We do this most years; we fill it with goods that people have generously donated to the charity, things like equipment for school, textbooks, lab equipment, tables, chairs, football kits and all sorts of essential things that are difficult to get in Malawi. We send them in a big 40ft container. Unfortunately, the price of those keeps going up.

“So, at the moment, we’re looking at £11,000 to send it overseas. It’s a long way to go around the southern tip of Africa and inland to Malawi. So £11,000 is our target. Therefore, all the fundraising we can do with events like this and appeals for people’s generous donations is valuable to us and the children.”

She stressed that even a small donation can have an enormous impact.

The trustee concluded: “It doesn’t take much to make a difference. Our strap line for FOMO is ‘Helping Does Make A Difference’. £5 for a mosquito net protects a family from malaria, which is a massive killer in parts of Africa like Malawi, especially for under 5s, the most vulnerable in our society. If you’re feeling super generous, you can sponsor a child’s education for a year for £650; it’s actually not bad; think about what that can do for a child and how it sets them up for the future.”

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